The ASYO’s history is unique from any other. It is a youth orchestra born from a parent orchestra that was born from a youth orchestra itself. The Atlanta Youth Orchestra was founded in 1945 by members of the Atlanta Music Club. The ensemble gradually grew to be the professional ASO; however youth education has always been crucial to its mission.
Nearly thirty years later, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra was founded. Directed by ASO associate conductor Michael Palmer, the first concert was given on December 21, 1974. Since then, the youth orchestra has seen only two other conductors, Sung Kwak, and Maestro Jere Flint, who conducted the Youth Orchestra 1979-2014 and was a cellist for the ASO 1967-2014. The ASYO is now excited to welcome ASO Assistant Conductor and ASYO Music Director,Joseph Young, for the 2014-15 season.
During its 40-year history, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra gained national recognition as one of the best youth orchestras in the country. The only American youth orchestra ever to participate in an Olympic Games, the ASYO was a featured ensemble in the 1996 closing ceremonies. ASYO has also been featured on National Public Radio, WABE, and with the rock group, Collective Soul. In the spring of 2015, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform at National Arts Advocacy Day events in Washington D.C., including a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.